Leading Organizations Call on Congress to Help Eliminate HPV-Related Cancers


Today, the American Association for Cancer Research, Moffitt Cancer Center, and Biden Cancer Initiative hosted a congressional briefing titled “Let’s End HPV-Related Cancers” in Washington, DC. In conjunction with this briefing, leading health organizations and patient advocates issued the following call to action to policymakers:

In May 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) director general released a call to action for the global elimination of cervical cancer, a preventable and curable cancer.

We the undersigned, including medical and public health organizations and patient advocates, endorse the WHO goal and advocate for the U.S. to take action toward the elimination of cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) through [sex]-neutral HPV vaccination and evidence-based cancer screening. 

The U.S. can and should be one of the first countries to achieve elimination of cervical cancer [along] with other HPV-related cancers in males and females to follow. Therefore, we issue the following call to action in alignment with the U.S. Heathy People 2020 goals:

    • Complete vaccination of more than 80% of males and females ages 13 to 15 by 2020
    • Screen 93% of age-eligible females for cervical cancer by 2020
    • Provide prompt follow-up and proper treatment of females who screen positive for high-grade precancerous cervical lesions.

The above interventions are the optimal route to cervical cancer elimination. They have been proven beneficial and cost-effective in both low- and high-resource settings and, therefore, are recommended as priority health measures in all countries.

We can and must contribute resources needed to implement these strategies.

 Consider the facts:

    • Only 53.1% of girls and 44.3% of boys aged 13 to 17 years in the U.S. completed the [HPV] vaccine series in 2017
    • Today, over 33,000 HPV-related cancers are diagnosed among men (oropharyngeal, anal, and penile cancers) and women (oropharyngeal, cervical, anal, vulvar, and vaginal cancers) every year in the U.S. This includes 12,000 cases of cervical cancer
    • Approximately 630,000 cases of HPV-related cancers are diagnosed each year worldwide. By 2040, approximately 500,000 women are predicted to die of cervical cancer each year, as the global burden of cervical cancer is growing.

Continuation of the status quo is not an option. For the first time in history, we have the opportunity to eliminate up to six cancers affecting both men and women. We call on stakeholders across multiple sectors to join us in making a commitment to realizing the elimination of cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers globally.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.